It's not about the house.

Monday, October 22, 2007

An Inconvenient Truth

I hate recycling. There, I said it.

I hate everything about it. I hate having to have a whole other separate trash can that doesn’t fit nicely anywhere and therefore involves a long annoying walk with every empty box or bottle. I hate having to wash my trash. I hate having to organize my trash. I hate being made to feel individually guilty for the destruction of the universe if I toss out my junk mail instead of taking the twelve steps necessary to ensure that noone will pretend to be me and claim my rightful prize from Ed McMahon. I even hate the dumb blue box itself.

But I do it.

Mostly because Johnny makes me.

The last time I lived alone was before the Blue Box edict came down and enslaved us all. And it’s a good thing, too. Because the studio I lived in then had barely enough room for me and the two cats. I had trash collection twice a week there (it was in the city proper) which was also fortunate because on the rare occasion that I filled a bag and removed it from the can before garbage day arrived, I had to put the full bag in the shower.

Now, of course, in this god-forsaken house I have a bit more room. I can put the insufferable bin in the back hallway, where it’s only in the way if you want to walk from one end to the other. But if I lived alone, that thing would be in the attic full of Christmas ornaments where it belongs.

But, like I said, Johnny makes me. God forbid I should one time get lazy and throw something recyclable (and tiny) in the trash – a NyQuil bottle, a bandaid box, a tuna can – when I do he picks it out and lectures me about it. What does he expect, a freaking Prize? I should get the damn Nobel for giving in to keep the Peace around here!

Sometimes, though, I throw something away and bury it under what’s already there. Just so I know, even if nobody else does, that he’s not the boss of me. Except for Johnny smokes, and I have a coffee problem. Our kitchen trash is usually so foul with ash tray detritus and soggy filtered grounds that the thought of touching anything in there sends me screaming to the bath.

(And if I hear one word about composting coffee grounds or what I ought to do with all those cigarette butts, I swear to god I’ll moderate the comments from now on…)

So yeah, mostly I put the damn recyclables in the damn recyclable bin. Mostly because it’s easier than fighting about it. But here’s the thing:

Trash day around here is every Friday. Recycling only happens every other week. So by the time recycling day rolls around the damn bin is overflowing – and we’re not even big can-and-box-food kind of people. I can’t imagine what it’s like if you have a whole family eating Lunchables. Though I wouldn’t be surprised if Lunchable containers don't recycle.

Anyway, we can never keep track of which week’s what. Our usual method is to wait until Friday morning, notice that everybody else has put their bins out, and then when I get back from driving Johnny to work I put our bin out too.

I do.

But a lot of times, for some reason, they don’t pick ours up. I don’t know why. Could be cause it’s too close to the car, but it’s always in the exact same spot and most of the time they do. Could be cause we separate it wrong, but we do it the same every time and ditto. I think what it boils down to is, we’re the first house on a street they have to back the truck down – I think that, in the midst of the complicated back-and-turn maneuver, they just sometimes forget that we exist.

The first time it happened, I dutifully brought the hated bin inside to pile up for two more weeks. A month, in all. Never again. Since then, I have a new plan:

The recycle guy comes at around 9:00 a.m. Trash guy not till noon. I leave for work on Fridays at 9:30. If, when I am leaving, the recycle guy has come and gone and left our bin untouched, I dump it in a garbage bag and put it in the barrel with the rest.

I don’t feel guilty about this in the slightest – in fact, I tend to feel a little giddy while I’m in the act – but I think it’s funny that, two pages into this post, I’m second-guessing my desire to admit it here. Like I don’t want you people to know this shameful thing about me. Like you all are going to think I’m an awful person. Like I might as well just say “sometimes, I kick the cats.” Or: “when I babysat this weekend, I locked the baby in the bathroom and got drunk.”

No matter what the noble Gore might say, this vice is not that bad. In fact, I think it falls more into the category of picking your nose: You do it when nobody’s looking, and you know everybody does it at least sometimes in their lives, but we’ve all agreed to pretend that we don’t.

What, you claim you never pick your nose? Okay fine, then: masturbating. No way you’re denying that one. Happy now, you had to get all self-righteous and make me pull out the big guns?

Of these three so-called vices, which one would you rather cop to? Me, I'm not proud -- just by writing this I've already fessed up to all three. But it seems to me, in this day and age, that last one's the most socially acceptable.

Talk about your global warming!


Sparkle Plenty said...

1) Love the pictogram! I would have been way off--I thought it was a water bra. Ahhhhhh. Water bra you mighty cleavage deceiver!
2) I cop to all three.
3) Plus glaring accusatorily at other people while issuing "silent but deadlies."
4) And knocking over Mr. Taylor's trains by accident when I was babysitting. (He was a little TOO attached to those trains.)
5) And sometimes selecting what I feel to be the BEST english muffin in a package--even if it is not always the FIRST english muffin in a package.
6) And wanting to bust a gut laughing when the toilet geisered up and hit the security guard in the face and he gazed balefully up at me from under the brim of his dripping wet security guard cap like a grieving bassett hound.

EGE said...

The best english muffin in the package is NEVER the first muffin in the package!

But I think you get points for only WANTING to bust a gut laughing and not actually DOING it.

Chaya said...

Well, in this house, I'm with J. (even though we have to haul our recycling to a center - no curbside pickup) and V is firmly on your side so it balances out, and sometimes I DON'T recycle just to keep from arguing.

But as to other vices...
2. yes
3. yes
4. I will sometimes pretend (even just to myself) not to notice when one of our dogs makes a mess inside if I'm just not able to deal with puddles and piles at that moment.
5. I cook, and so I often help myself to the best bite of everything before I serve, or deliberately give V the not-as-good piece.

Anonymous said...

LOL - recycling is a point of friction in our abode as well. She likes to toss, I insist on recycling because we have to pay EXTRA for it. The town passed a regulation that everyone has to recyle, they had town-wide pickup (trash and recyclables on one truck!) for one year, then the oney ran out so we all have to pay. Everyone on my street has a different trash company, so there are trucks here three days a week. I never know what day trash day is. It used to be Friday, which was definitely more memorable than Wednesday. Who is alert enough on Tuesday for jeppers sake to do all the bagging and binning? I might save a tree a year with all the Boston Socialist Globes I go through. Whee! A tree, a whole tree! The bottles and cans are not a problem. I don't like having them in the trash bag anyway. If a bottle breaks, the bag splits and I get all the coffee grounds and other sticky smelly stuff all over my Reeboks. Ewww.